New York Festivals Open Mic Spotlight Interview features prominent award-winners from the wonderful world of radio. This week, NYF Radio Awards Grand Jury member, Liliana Manna of Radio Rivadavia, and 2017 Bronze trophy winner shares her creative insights on her award-winning program “Street Violence: City of Lost Hearts.”
Liliana Manna is a journalist for Radio Rivadavia Argentina. She was the first woman in Argentina radio to be named a writer-broadcaster in the News Service of Radio Belgrano and served as producer on various radio and television programs. Her illustrious career spans 4 decades and Liliana has been honored as one of the 100 personalities of the decade from 1987 to 1997 in the category of Best Producer.
Ms. Manna has earned more than 7 Gold, Silver and Bronze trophies at the New York Festivals International Radio Awards. This year, she stepped up to the podium at the 2017 NYF Radio Awards gala to accept the Bronze trophy for “Street Violence: City of Lost Hearts” for Best Human-Interest Story. Previous accolades include taking home the 2014 NYF Radio Awards Gold trophy for Best Documentary for “30 Years of Democracy: Everybody’s Story.” Her award-winning streak continued, in 2014 she also won the Ondas Award, awarded by the Cadena Ser Spain, for best documentary radio program in the world “Human Trafficking: Merchants of Innocence” which on December 3rd was delivered in a special audience with Pope Francisco.
Keep reading to learn how Liliana’s award-winning program “Street Violence: City of Lost Hearts” came to be produced, the challenges she encountered in production and how she overcame them, how her passion for radio developed, her personal dream project she’d like to create and more.
NYF Radio: How did your Bronze Trophy winning program “Street Violence: City of Lost Hearts” come to be produced? What was the inspiration for the creation of this program?
Lilian Manna: The inspiration was found in the sad reality that our country, Argentina, lives with regard to people who die day after day by violent episodes: armed robberies; Femicides; Unscrupulous motorists who do not respect the minimum standards of urban coexistence; Police violence; Increased drug trafficking; the application of laws that favor the delinquent more than the victim. These are social issues that have a very strong impact throughout the country.
NYF Radio: What creative challenges did you encounter during the production of this program and how did you overcome them?
Liliana Manna: The investigation was directed mainly to the victims, who suffered this violence and were able to survive. We consulted judges and sociologists to get some response to the increase of violence in all its forms in our society. And we also turned to two Nobel Peace Prize winners like Rigoberta Menchú and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel who provided their invaluable testimony when it came to finding possible ways to overcome these scourges.
NYF Radio: How did you attract most respected specialists to speak on this topic of street violence including two Nobel Peace Prize winners Rigoberta Menchú Tum (Guatemala) and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (Argentina); Federal Judge Daniel Rafecas –author of two boks about this plight-, Priest Father Pepe (hard-working in the slums) and Guillermo Whpei (President of the international Foundation for Democracy, who has observed the peace process in Colombia)?
Liliana Manna: Both Rosario Lufrano and I endorse a professional career of many years with an ethical basis that allowed us to gain the most precious of a journalist that is his credibility.
With Adolfo Pérez Esquivel we maintain permanent contact. He is a man who, despite the honorability of his Nobel Peace Prize, accesses journalistic interviews when he is asked questions of high social commitment. It reveals poverty; Hunger and violence.
Rigoberta Menchú Tum was able to interview her in our studies of Radio Rivadavia thanks to the management of Mr. Guillermo Whpei, President of the International Foundation for Democracy, during a brief visit to the country, invited by the Foundation. Mr. Whpei is a highly qualified voice to talk about issues of concern to Latin America.
Judge Daniel Rafecas, one of the country’s top judges, rarely has an interview. Before our proposal, he did not hesitate to speak of a reality in which the judicial decision is also compromised.
NYF Radio: What unique skills does your production team require to achieve the level of success that your programs have garnered?
Liliana Manna: In each Special Radio Production, we propose to (metaphorically) “create radio images” using most radio resources. We prioritize reinforcing the testimonies that are heard with special effects, with music carefully selected, for each moment. The pre- production takes us about 3 months of searching for the right characters and recording studio. We try to avoid telephone interviews so as not to detract from the sound quality. There are only three people on the team: the director and conductor, Rosario Lufrano, the sound editor, Toto Berlingieri, and I as a content producer and responsible for the airing.
NYF Radio: How was your program received in Argentina and has bringing to light the problem with so many respected specialists on this topic brought about any change?
Liliana Manna: The program had wide repercussions. We can honestly say that having had the testimony of Carolina Píparo, who in 2010, being 9 months pregnant, suffered a tragic robbery in front of her home, was a very important contribution to get the Chamber of Deputies of the Nation to approve a Law Protection of victims of violence. It was a long struggle faced by relatives who suffered different episodes of urban violence and who could not conceive that criminals had more benefits than the victims.
NYF Radio: Where did you first develop your passion for radio?
Liliana Manna: I started in 1974 at Radio Belgrano in Buenos Aires. I was already a journalist and National Speaker. I was the first woman on the radios of the City of Buenos Aires, to integrate an informative service of a radio and to read Informativos that, until then was a masculine task.
NYF Radio: Will you talk about the importance of freedom of the press? Will
Liliana Manna: Press freedom is a key condition for responsible journalism. I was censored during the years of the tragic military dictatorship that we lived from 1976 to 1983. I could answer a lot more and also include “Corporate censorship”. I just want to say that in Radio Rivadavia we work with broad freedom of expression.
NYF Radio: Do you have any advice for young people who want to find their place for a career in the radio industry?
Liliana Manna: The most important advice I can give to young people who want to find their place in the radio industry is to tell them to embrace radio … with passion. Let them be aware that we are a means of communication to express ourselves with fundamentals. We are not the owners of the truth. We are a MEDIUM that we can contribute to the search for some truth by managing with reliable sources of information.
NYF Radio: What is your personal dream project that you’d like to create? Or have you already created it and if so, what was it?
Liliana Manna: My personal dream is always focused on the next Special Production project. I am passionate about documentaries (on radio and on TV). I think it is important to exercise Memory and not repeat stories. A dream I have: interview a serial killer. There are many who still live. And that they serve their sentence of life imprisonment.
For more information on New York Festivals International Radio Awards, please visit:http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/